Springbok Factory – Book Review

We all know women are different. They see things from a different angle, do things differently and ask different questions. And they are thorough in whatever they do.

That is why this rugby book by Liz McGregor is also different and by far one of the most enjoyable I’ve read, as was it’s predecessor Touch, Pause, Engage.Having travelled extensively with the Springboks, she parts with interesting tidbits about the functions and expertise amongst the supporting staff of – can you guess? – 47 people (in the case of WC 2011). Did you know that the medical team takes along 23 kg of tape for each player for every week of the tournament?

Apart from travelling with the team, McGregor speaks exstensively to the players, their families, coaches and friends in compiling her insightful profiles on three players: Bismarck and Jannie du Plessis and Jean de Villiers.

Interviews with the Bok doctor, the coaches Peter de Villiers and Heyneke Meyer, physio, sponsors, brand managers, the logistics guy and the woman who deals with the wives and girlfriends on tour sheds new light on the topics rugby scribes ignore because they think it is not interesting.

I found the interview with Louis von Zeuner (the Absa man whose SMS to Oregan Hoskins about black players caused some uproar) very enlightening and can’t feel this is the kind of guy Saru needs on its executive.

Talking about Saru: McGregor also attended some of their meetings and inbetween the lines it is obvious that she does not hold the governing body in high regard.

She also does not steer away from the social divide between black and white players in the squad.

●Published by Jonathan Ball the book sells at R180 at good book stores and could be a very useful hint about what you would like on your Christmas list.

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